Vacant Homes Now Belong to CNM

Story and Photos by

Mark Graven

Staff Reporter

Behind sturdy fences, the former UNM student housing units, located on Buena Vista Avenue, await their future.

The units are located on a 13-acre parcel, that was recently sold by UNM to CNM. CNM has approved the acquisition for a price of 1.5 million, and UNM has approved the sale, according to CNM.

When the CNM Governing Board approved the acquisition in July, CNM officials said that they had not determined how they would use the property. At recent CNM meetings the idea that has been presented is to demolish the housing units, and build a state-of-the-art space for the applied technologies and trades programs.

But, as pictured on September 28, from Buena Vista Avenue, these unoccupied housing units, will have to wait to find out their precise fate.

Free Parking for UNM Students

Story and Photos by

Mark Graven

Staff Reporter

While CNM students have seen the imposition of paid parking for their campus lots, UNM students are able to skate on charges by parking at the massive University Stadium parking lot, south of the CNM campus.

Of course, if there is an athletic event, like a home Lobo football game, paid parking goes into effect, according to lot attendants.

But on a beautiful weekday afternoon, the University Stadium is brimming with cars, whose drivers had to pay nary a farthing for their place in the sun. Shuttle buses are ready to ferry UNM students to their main campus as soon as the students park. It is about a mile walk that some students might not want to endure in the afternoon sun.

The red Lobo shuttle busses are highly visible as they go to and from the Stadium lot to Main campus, via University Boulevard.

Lot attendants are scooting about in their golf carts to monitor the situation, but everything seems peaceful and calm. There may be no such thing as a free lunch these days, but for UNM students there is free parking.

UNM Pond starts to Get Ducks in a Row

By Mark Graven

Staff Reporter

On a brilliant sunny afternoon of September 15th, at the UNM Duck Pond, the duck population is growing, and calling itself to order.

In midsummer, the duck population had fallen below 20 ducks. Now ducks are returning from their summer vacations in northern latitudes, and beginning to settle in for fall and winter.

Today there are more than forty ducks, paddling about, or watching from the pond’s edge, where they naturally line up in rows to observe the turtles, sunning on pond rocks, and humans who recline in the shade of trees, or sit on benches surrounding the water.

It’s a far cry from the hundreds of ducks the pond regularly hosts in the winter, and certainly not enough to impress the turtles, who are rock-solid residents of the pond year around. Yes, indeed, the turtles are hard to impress.

The American Families Plan: Colleges Wait and Wonder

Story by Angela Harrington

Staff Reporter

As the American Families Plan moves closer to legislative action, CNM, like many community colleges across the U.S., will be watching and waiting to see what happens, said CNM’s Interim Vice President of Student Services, Ann Lyn Hall.

 The bill proposes to make two years of community college free for students according to Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan | The White House

CNM leadership is continuing to monitor this bill because students, staff, and faculty all want to know what is going to happen with it, she said.

“We do believe that making community college free, or more affordable, will really help our community and our students. We definitely see a major impact in New Mexico if this bill is passed,” she said.

According to Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan | The White House, the legislation also proposes an increase of $1400 to the amount awarded through the Pell Grant.

Having a larger Pell Grant would also help students because that not only pays for tuition and fees but also helps students pay for other costs as well, said Hall.

According to Hall, this could help students to stay in school and be able to finish a degree because finances would be less of a barrier.

“Nobody comes to school to not complete. People come to school because they have something that they want to do. So, my sense is something like this legislation would really allow some additional resources to help students meet those goals,” stated Hall.

For the school, according to Hall, the benefits proposed in the plan could equate to higher enrollment rates and better student retention.


Story and Photos by

Mark Graven

Staff Writer

Two huge “CNM” block-letter signs and a large solar panel welcome visitors to the CNM Rio Rancho campus, located near the edge of the desert, at the end of a road that passes by Rio Ranch City Hall. 

About a 30-minute drive due north of Main Campus, the Rio Rancho campus, at 2601 Campus Boulevard, Northeast, has won recognition for its energy-efficient design.  It consists of one 62,000 square foot, mostly red-brick building, with many large windows that afford spectacular views of the desert.

Rio Rancho takes advantage of nature’s gifts.  Solar panels are placed strategically around campus to provide power.   A deep-well system brings up water from the earth at a temperature of 68 degrees, Fahrenheit. The water then heats the building in winter, and cools it in summer, according to a CNM website.

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A concrete path by the north parking lot puts a person right at desert’s edge, and a sign explains what kind of flora an fauna one is likely to find in the area.   Personnel at the front desk say they sometimes have to shoo rattlesnakes from the parking lot.   Hawks, ravens, spiders, and coyotes also enjoy this environment.

And now more people are returning, after a Covid-induced drought of more than a year.  CNM employees at the front desk, say that students are beginning to trickle in to register and receive academic coaching, as Fall Semester approaches.

Today, a group of prospective electric linemen are seen on the grounds east of the main building, addressing a set of utility poles, undeterred by a few raindrops on this cloudy day of June 30, 2021.  A mobile unit parked east-side enables welding students to pursue their craft outside.

Inside the building, class-room chairs are still stowed on the top of desks.  Tables and chairs in RR building’s central courtyard, and various alcoves around the building await users.

The Rio Rancho campus, when it is going full-bore, may serve upwards of 1800 students who come to attend classes in general studies, but also receive specialized training in nursing, paramedics, teaching, business, and more.

Built more than a decade ago, the Rio Rancho campus seems adjusted to its place in the desert.  The campus provides a comfortable venue for a student to find a spot to sit and observe the desert as it comes to bloom again.

Food and Water in Supply at Smith-Brasher

Photos and Video by

Mark Graven

Staff Writer

A vending machine off the main lobby of Smith-Brasher Hall on Main Campus is fully stocked with candy, chips, and other goodies, on Friday, June 25th, as it awaits the arrival of hungry students. The bottled water vending machines are depleted of their stocks, but two drinking fountains nearby are fully operational. They are now part of what is called a “hydration station,” as a sign clearly indicates.

ECOS Strives to Rejuvenate CNM Clubs

Story by Mark Graven

Staff Reporter

The Executive Council of Students (ECOS) met with Dean of Students Chris Cavazos to discuss the number of members and officers need to charter, or renew, a club at its June 18th on-line meeting. 

Currently, CNM requires that clubs have at least eight active members, with four of them serving as officers.

ECOS members and Cavazos discussed a proposal whereby five active members and two officers would be sufficient to charter a club.

“Five (members) would be great,” said Cavazos, adding that it would represent an effort by the college and ECOS to get students more engaged.

When students are more engaged, they are more successful, he said.

CNM had more than 25 clubs and organizations in operation before the Covid pandemic shut down in-person activities on campus.  Some clubs were able to stay active but others have fallen off over the last year and a half.  

ECOS, which is in charge of allocating funds for the clubs, which comes out of student registration fees, last year decided to allocate funds at 50 percent of previous levels, until the campus returned to normal operations.

The ECOS  board members discussed with Cavozos, the problem of club continuity, and officers being able to know the proper procedures in obtaining, and using, funds.  

Kristofer Gaussoin, CNM director of student conduct and responsibilities and the official advisor to ECOS, noted that the college is working on an on-line training program for club officers, which could help overcome the problem of getting officers to in-person training.

ECOS President Alex Crossland said that at a community college, there can be more frequent turnover among officers, so clubs might need to lean more on faculty advisors to help maintain continuity.

Colin Stapleton, ECOS outreach officer, noted that faculty advisors tend to have a wide range of involvement.

Cavazos said that the role of faculty advisors in maintaining club continuity was a factor to consider in deciding how to proceed.  ECOS is expected to revisit the question at its next meeting. 

ECOS is meeting every other Friday at 2 p.m. during Summer Semester.

Cracking Down on Free Parking

Photos by

Mark Graven

Staff Writer

A sign in front of the entrance of the Market Place Bookstore at Main Campus indicates that folks will have to pay for on- campus parking.  A survey of the parking lot by the Bookstore on Tuesday, June 22nd, shows not many folks taking advantage of the opportunity.

Turtles Day in the Sun

Story, Photos and Video by

Mark Graven

Wildlife Correspondent

Ducks usually get top billing when it comes to news from the UNM Duck Pond, after all the pond is named for them.

But it is midway through June, and the hot days of summer are upon us.  Most of the hundreds of ducks that occupy the pond at the center of UNM’s campus are gone for vacation in the northern climes.  

The turtles are going nowhere fast, but are happy together on the rocks of the pond, which serve as podiums where they can bask in the glory of the New Mexican sunlight.  

The turtles take advantage of a large grouping of rocks at the west end of the pond to put their sunbathing talents on display.  But they also use a small grouping of rocks near the fountain at the east end of the pond.   

Occasionally, the turtles will go for dip in the water.  With the fountain and a waterfall near the southwest corner of the pond, the turtles have a stunning aquatic environment.  The turtles seem to enjoy swimming to cool down:  sun bathing can be tough work!
Now, please kick back and enjoy our photo display of the turtles today.